Diabetes and Alcohol

friends drinking wine

Take the Diabetes and Alcohol quiz.

Test your knowledge about the affects of alcohol on people with diabetes.

If you choose to drink alcohol, drinking in moderation means:

The American Diabetes Association recommends these guidelines for drinking alcohol in moderation: limiting alcohol intake to no more than one serving per day for women, and no more than two servings per day for men.
One serving of alcohol is defined as:

One serving of alcohol is defined as: 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1½ ounces of distilled spirits.
True or False: If you take insulin or types of diabetes pills that stimulate your pancreas to release insulin, drinking alcohol places you at higher risk of having low blood sugars.

True! If you take insulin or types of diabetes pills that stimulate your pancreas to release insulin, drinking alcohol does place you at higher risk of having low blood sugars. Normally, the liver releases glucose to maintain blood sugar levels. But when you drink alcohol, the liver is busy breaking the alcohol down, so it does a poor job of releasing glucose into the bloodstream. So the blood sugar lowering effect of the medicine combines with the blood sugar lowering effect of the alcohol to increase the risk of a low blood sugar.
When drinking alcohol, what is the most important thing you should do to prevent low blood sugar?

The best bet is drinking alcohol along with a meal or snack that contains carbohydrates. While the carbohydrate in sugary alcoholic beverages may raise the blood sugar, it is not a reliable way to sustain blood sugar levels. Remember that liquids digest faster than solids, and substituting alcohol for a meal, or skipping meals, may increase your risk of having a low blood sugar.


©2007-2016 Collective work Martha Nolte Kennedy,
The Regents of the University of California.
All rights reserved.